In the federal government’s exercise recommendations, advice aimed at seniors targets muscle loss and how to prevent it. Younger adults are told to get moderate to vigorous activity most days of the week with at least two days a week of weight training.
Here’s what the guidelines recommend for seniors:
Two or more times per week for 30 minutes per session. This recognizes that those over 65 may get as sweaty and tired from a moderate walk as a 30-year-old gets from a brisk jog. “It’s about relative intensity,’’ said Tufts University nutrition professor Miriam Nelson, who cochaired the panel.
Three times per week for 30 minutes per session. This involves doing 8 to 12 repetitions of targeted exercises to build all the major muscle groups such as biceps, triceps, quadriceps, and back. “One set is effective,’’ state the guidelines, “however, limited evidence suggests that 2 or 3 sets may be more effective.’’
Three times per week. This can help reduce the risk of falling by 30 percent in seniors at risk because of certain health conditions such as severe muscle loss. Tai chi classes, balance gadgets (including wobble boards, balls, and cushions), and yoga poses that require standing on one foot can help build balance.
High-quality sources of protein
The latest research suggests that doubling the recommended daily allowance of protein from about 50 grams a day to about 100 grams a day can improve muscle mass, strength, and function in those over 65. Since the body can convert only so much protein into muscle at one time, it’s best to space protein intake evenly throughout the day, getting about 30 to 35 grams with every meal.
27 grams: 3 ounces top round steak
25 grams: 3 ounces chicken breast
25 grams: 3 ounces canned tuna fish
23 grams: 3 ounces salmon filet
21 grams: 3 ounces ground beef
20 grams: 1/2 cup tofu
18 grams: 3-egg omelet
17 grams: 1/4 cup roasted soy nuts
16 grams: 6-ounce Greek yogurt
14 grams: 1 cup beans or chickpeas
11 grams: 1.5 ounces cheese
11 grams: 8-ounce cup of soy milk
10 grams: 4 ounces cottage cheese
10 grams: Starbucks tall skim latte
8 grams: 8-ounce glass of milk
6 grams: 1/4 cup quinoa